Royal Jarmon

RJ 18

“OPENING”: Thursday, May 28th

The Hole is proud to present our second solo exhibition with Brooklyn-based artist Royal Jarmon. The exhibition focuses on his new American maps with four new paintings and a giant wall-filling mural on the rear wall. We will also include a stop-motion animation piece by the artist on the opposite wall.

An artist of infinite variety, Jarmon was inspired in this series by his childhood habit of drawing the map of the United States on his desk when he was daydreaming. Describing himself as one not well-suited for traditional schooling, Jarmon fancifully doodled through school and moved around a lot as a child. He sees these paintings as a kind of early computer keyboard, and the fifty states of America as keys that you press in sequence to tell a story.

The works include spray, paint marker and traditional brushwork; aggressively applied and rough. The states are barely reminiscent of their actual geographical borders but are each labeled by their two-letter abbreviation and vaguely where they should be. The compositions crowd into the canvas, airtight, a tectonic impossibility using every available inch.

White highlights and dark grey shadows raise tiny pyramidal mountains out of each element, making the painting a very strange topographical map; each state is a mountain (or a valley) unto itself, smushed together like plastic puzzle pieces or hit with the “shrink wrap” filter in old versions of Photoshop. The color choices from afar suggest another layer of imagery, as in the work above titled “A Slice of Watermelon.” The mural presiding over the exhibition has a background of blue and red lines and from afar, the grey states resemble a massive graphite scrawl across a giant wide-ruled sheet of paper.

Jarmon’s stop-motion animation of the “keyboard” being pressed helps demonstrate the implied motion of the paintings; instead of clicking keys however, here the states rise and fall in a rhythmic way similar to breathing: the title of the piece—and the show—”Respire”.  Evocatively, this work makes the map of the country appear as a living, breathing organism, and ultimately the viewer can’t help but project some thoughts about America onto them: I think about Americans from coast to coast, staying at home and all breathing together.

The artist also filmed an awesome (and socially distant) time-lapse video of him painting the 20-foot mural, which will be released in conjunction with the install images of the exhibition. We really hope we get to see some of you in person next month! We are right now setting up a system for making appointments that will be easy and safe.


Above: Slice of Watermelon, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 91 x 122 cm

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RJ 15Red Flower, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 91 x 122 cm

RJ 16Silver, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 84 inches, 183 x 213 cm

RJ 17Seeds, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 91 x 122 cm

RJ 18Slice Of Watermelon, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 91 x 122 cm

RJ 19Rainbow, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 91 x 122 cm